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Monthly Archives: December 2014

Pickled Cauliflower

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At the Nordstrom’s Café at City Creek, they used to bring you a plate of pickled veggies prior to your meal.  Jordan and I loved these and were so disappointed when they stopped serving them..  Our favorite part was the cauliflower.  After our last visit , when they broke the news to us that their menu had changed, I came home and made a large batch of these.  Sometimes we are confronted with trials in our lives and the test is how we will respond.  I think we did pretty well!!  I can’t promise how I will respond if there are many more of these.  If they change to Diet Pepsi, I am not sure I can take it–even if they serve it with lemon!!  Last year they took the fig pizza off the menu and it took me months to get over that-or at least until I found a recipe for it.

I make a double batch of this and just keep replacing the cauliflower. I started out doing cucumbers, carrots and cauliflower but the the other veggies were never eaten, so I just went to straight cauliflower.  These are so good and you don’t have to feel guilty eating them.

cauliflower

Ingredients for the Brine

10 cloves garlic

2 cups white vinegar

6 tsp. salt

Several sprigs of dill

1 tsp celery seed

1 tsp coriander seed

1 tsp mustard seed

½ tsp. black peppercorns

½ tsp. pink peppercorns

In a medium saucepan, bring 4 cups of water to a boil, reduce the heat to simmer and add the garlic.  Cook for 5 minutes.  Add the vinegar and salt, raise the heat to bring to a boil, stirring until the salt dissolves.  Remove from heat.

In 2 quart size bottles, place a few of the sprigs of dill.  Divide the seeds and peppercorns between the two jars.  Add the garlic cloves to each jar.  Then pack the jars full of desired vegetables.

Bring the  brine back to a boil, pour over the veggies to cover completely.  Let them cool and then refrigerate.  These are good after several hours, but are the best after a few days.

 
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Posted by on December 31, 2014 in Recipes

 

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Deseret Industries Picture Frame Trays

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If I could have a dollar for every time I said ” I could make that”, I could quit my job and have a lot of time to “make that”.  I saw these at a boutique and loved them.  I also have a very large collection of frames that I have collected over the years .  Many of these were purchased at the DI for $1, so this is very inexpensive project.

I started by taking out the glass and spray painting them an off white color.  These would be cute in many other colors, but I really liked the simple white.  I was a little impatient while painting these and applied my second coat before the first coat was dry.  The paint bubbled and I had to sand them.  I was just going to sand them and then apply another coat of the paint, but I really liked the sanded look.  I added a final coat of a semi gloss spray sealer.

I then attached 2 inexpensive cabinet pulls that I got at Ace Hardware for $1.99.  I then cut a piece of fabric a little larger than the opening.  These were 8×10 inch frames so I cut the fabric10x12 inches.  I glued this around the cardboard insert in the frame.  I added a piece of quilting flannel under this to give it a little more bulk.

I then placed the fabric in the frame and finished the back off by applying glue on the back of the frame and laying a piece of brown wrapping paper on top of the glue and trimming around frame with an exacto knife.  This gives it a very finished look.

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Posted by on December 31, 2014 in DIY

 

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Christmas Stockings

My choice of destination shopping has changed drastically over the years.  There have been a few spots that have survived my change in taste.  One of these is Shephard’s Bush in Ogden.

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This is a quant little needlepoint store that is run by two sisters. It reminds me a little of the book store in the movie “You’ve Got Mail”.  It is filled with many of their own designs and is like stepping back in time for me.  I have always loved to cross stitch but have filled my time with other things over the past several years.  It has been about 10 years since I visited this wonderful store and I was not sure if it was still even there.  I was in Ogden last summer and decided to stop by and check it out.  It is still there and looks exactly the same.  The same two sisters are still there and look the same except for a little more grey hair.  I have always loved their Christmas stockings and made the rash decision to make new stockings for everyone.  I left the store with 4 patterns and $80 worth of floss.  I started these in June and have loved working on them.  They have passed the time while I flew to 3 meetings in DC and a road trip to Washington to take Jace and Krystal’s horses to them this past fall. I have been amazed at how relaxing this has been and can’t wait to start a new project.

I am so thrilled with how they turned out.  I gave these to the kids on Christmas Eve with their usual PJ’s.

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Posted by on December 31, 2014 in DIY, My Favorite Things

 

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Christmas Morning Croissants

chocolate croissant

Last year my best friend Suzanne and I took a class at Sur Le Table on baking croissants.  It was so fun and the croissants that we made were wonderful. To give you an idea about the process, the recipe and instructions were 3 pages long.  It takes several days of making the butter layered dough and after adding all that butter, I had a little difficulty eating an entire croissant.  I am much happier to let someone else make them and then I can pretend that they do not have 2 pounds of butter in them.  When I took the class, I envisioned myself rolling these out often for my family and hearing oohs and ahhs as I took them out of the oven.  Well I can tell you how often I have made them since that class–zero, nada, zilch.  I just do not have days to make something that will  be devoured in a matter of minutes.

Well the other day as I was waiting at Trader Joes for the shipment of Cookie Butter to come in, I did a little browsing in the freezer isle.  I came across the Trader Joe Chocolate and Almond Croissants.  At $3.99 for a box of 4, I did not hold out a lot of hope that they would be any good.  I paid that much for just the butter in my recipe.  I decided to give them a try and I am so glad that I did.

You need to plan ahead as they need to rise overnight.  I put them out Christmas Eve before we went to bed.  The next morning I put on a pot of hot chocolate, pulled out the fruit tray that I had made the night before and put these in the oven.  By the time everyone was awake, they were just coming out of the oven.  They smelled and looked wonderful.  I have to say, these were amazing.  If you had put these on a tray with the ones that we had spent hours making at Sur La Table, I would not have been able to tell the difference.  These are so good and easy and make you look as if you had been working for hours.  I am going to make these a yearly Christmas morning tradition.

We tried both the chocolate and the almond croissants and loved them both.  I think I liked the almond the best, but they were both amazing.

 

tj almond croissants

 
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Posted by on December 30, 2014 in My Favorite Things

 

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The Most Amazing Chocolate Cake Ever!!!!!

beattys cake

I am going to be going a little hog wild the next little while as I have so many things to post.  I have been so busy the last month getting ready for Christmas and enjoying having Jace and Krystal here that I have not posted anything for quite awhile.  I have been taking pictures and saving them, knowing that when things slowed down, I would get around to updating things.  Jace and Krystal left this morning and I am still unable to talk to anyone without breaking down and sobbing  I have such a hard time when Christmas is over anyway, but throw their departure into the mix, and I am a candidate for rather heavy doses of medication or may a medically induced coma

. I had this cake recipe recommended to me by my hairdresser, Christie.  I made it the other night and OH MY HECK!!! This is the most moist cake I have ever made and the frosting is amazing.  I am a real critic when it comes to frosting. I can not take the real sweet ones or the ones that taste like they are mostly Crisco and leave that coating of fat on the roof of your mouth.  You know what I am talking about.  But believe me, I am never making any other cake  again and I will not be using the boxed chocolate cake mixes after tasting this one.

I am putting the recipe just as it was written, with the explanation that we do not drink coffee so I do not have it setting around.  I used Postum.  If you happen to be LDS, you will know what this is.  Also I had purchased a Kahlua flavored syrup from Standard Restaurant supple (if you haven’t been there, make this a destination).  It does not contain alcohol nor coffee, but is just a flavoring.  I used this in the frosting in place of the coffee granules.  Try it you will love it!!!

This recipe comes from The Barefoot Contessa as does the picture because I forgot to take a picture of mine prior to it being devoured.

Ingredients
  • Butter, for greasing the pans
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cups good cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk, shaken
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee
  • Chocolate Buttercream, recipe follows
  • Chocolate Frosting:
  • 6 ounces good semisweet chocolate (recommended: Callebaut)
  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 extra-large egg yolk, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 tablespoon instant coffee powder
Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter two 8-inch x 2-inch round cake pans. Line with parchment paper, then butter and flour the pans.

Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on low speed until combined. In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. With mixer still on low, add the coffee and stir just to combine, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.

Place 1 layer, flat side up, on a flat plate or cake pedestal. With a knife or offset spatula, spread the top with frosting. Place the second layer on top, rounded side up, and spread the frosting evenly on the top and sides of the cake.

Chocolate Frosting:Chop the chocolate and place it in a heat-proof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Stir until just melted and set aside until cooled to room temperature.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium-high speed until light yellow and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg yolk and vanilla and continue beating for 3 minutes. Turn the mixer to low, gradually add the confectioners’ sugar, then beat at medium speed, scraping down the bowl as necessary, until smooth and creamy. Dissolve the coffee powder in 2 teaspoons of the hottest tap water. On low speed, add the chocolate and coffee to the butter mixture and mix until blended. Don’t whip! Spread immediately on the cooled cake.  (make sure it is completely cooled as this recipe has a lot of butter in it and if the cake is warm at all, it will melt and lose that wonderful whipped look and taste.

 
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Posted by on December 29, 2014 in Recipes

 

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Joy to the World for $12

joy to the world

 I love globes of any kind.  I love Pottery Barn.  I love Christmas. So it makes sense that I would really, really love a Christmas globe from Pottery Barn.  I did until I saw the price tag.  Now I would normally not purchase it and then go home and rationalize the purchase and go back the next day and get it.  I can find some very good reasons that I need things that I don’t really need.  But this was at a point in my Christmas gift purchases that my checking account was just not keeping up with my list of things that each family member just had to have.  That is a whole other topic for another day. Let’s just say that my resolution this year is to cut down on Christmas, but with my memory, I am sure that I will forget that by then.

I did the next best thing.  I went to Pinterest and searched for Pottery Barn Christmas globe and viola there it was.  This was so easy and inexpensive and turned out so stinking cute.  I love it on my fireplace mantel.  The great thing is that it can be erased and used for other occasions.

I found my globe at Target in the office supply isle.  I painted it with several coats of chalkboard paint and then using the example on Pinterest free handed Joy to the World with a white chalk marker.

The lighting in these pictures really shows off the lines on the globe, but in normal lighting these do not show as much.

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Posted by on December 29, 2014 in DIY

 

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Refurbished Thanksgiving Table Decorations/Christmas gift wrapping

I promised after the last post, that I would show a picture of how we took the gold leaf Thanksgiving table settings and used them for Christmas gift wrappings.  Or should I say that Jordan used for gift wrap.  That is like the nurse that goes in the room and asks the patient “well how are WE doing today”  Rather annoying to say the least.  Jordan did some other very creative wrappings this year.  I was sorry to open them as they really added to my decorating.  She also wrapped all of the presents this year, including her own.  I put them all in boxes with names on, and came home from work one day and the were all wrapped.  What a wonderful surprise.

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From this to this……..

wrapping with leaves

Some other cute ideas;

gift wrappings

This was done with plain old white chalk and a gold sharpie marker.

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presents

 
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Posted by on December 29, 2014 in DIY

 

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